Series: Showmance #1
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on May 16th 2016
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Damon Atwood was Hollywood’s golden boy. Having won an Oscar at the tender age of thirteen, he had the life many could only dream about. But his success came at a price, and after a short but fruitful film career, he chose to live a life of obscurity on a remote Scottish island. Almost a decade later he’s finally ready to make his return, starting with a lead role in a musical on London’s West End.
As a choreographer’s assistant, Rose Taylor has always faded into the background. She watches shows come to life from the side lines, but has never craved the attention of stardom. When rumours begin circulating of Damon’s involvement in her latest gig, she doesn’t predict how she will be thrust into the limelight, nor how the mysterious and strangely introverted man will need her to teach him how to be a star again.
Rose knows that show crushes don’t last. Actors fall for each other during the intensity of a production, often losing themselves in their roles. These kinds of affairs burn bright and then they fade. The question is, should Rose let herself shine with Damon, or guard her heart from being broken after the final curtain call?
I’d call this the Dancer and the Hermit but I’d be splitting hairs over a very romantic read that unfurls under the harsh glare of showbiz’s spotlights. There’s so much to like about this book, the mild angst and the lack of unnecessary antics being the main draw for me.
I started this book with a little trepidation, wondering if the high drama on stage would simply mirror the drama off it. That said, I loved the stark boundaries that Ms. Cosway draws between the artifice of theatre and what really happens past the preparations and the final curtain call. If it’s all broad strokes, lavish declaration of love and spectacle up there, what happens down below are the nitty-gritty details that matter: where tension, uncertainty and insecurities still pepper broken relationships and pasts hurts.
In short, Cosway’s personal vision of Moulin Rouge, just like the movie, recreates an extravagant Fin de siècle fantasy only to be whipped away once the curtain drops, but the actual story twists it the other way, bringing us deeply grounded, and very relatable characters who couldn’t be further away from operatic excess. Right up to the extent where I found myself less concerned with the technicalities behind musical theatre and more with the swoonworthy Damon – the unlikeliest celebrity ever and so much like a regular guy – and the steadiness of his character.